Architecture & Urban Design

17 Glen

Considered a long-term urban experiment with the aim of encouraging conditions for life, 17 Glen Ave can also be viewed as a sculptural extension of the landscape. Over time, the building has been designed to disappear, engulfed by trees, plants, and small endemic wildlife that migrate between it and Table Mountain less than 50m away. It’s a place where plants and animals co-habit despite the built-up urban conditions around them.

The architectural approach is one of simplicity. Simple systems and materials have been applied to the design of this dwelling, to blend in with the presence of Table Mountain close by; the building offers human shelter that is integrated with a larger living system. Complexity is generated in the dynamic natural systems that are encouraged to appropriate the building and site. At night, the building casts no light, encouraging nocturnal species to inhabit the terrain. The prominent curved sweeping wall of the design, relates to the sculptural forms of Lion’s Head and the curvature of the boundary road, evoking strong experiential qualities reminiscent of those of the Zimbabwe ruins. Open spaces have been densely planted so that the house becomes lost in layers of plant life that form an escape portal from the controlled built-up areas of Cape Town toward a natural and dynamic sanctuary.

Completed 2012

The Cape Institute Award for Architecture 2015
The South African Institute of Architecture Award of Merit 2013/2014
South African Institute of Architects Award for Excellence 2016